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Midwest Fishing Report: Rivers around Chicago fishing

Talk of the fall feed bag comes, then goes again with the hot temperatures, for this rivers section of the Midwest Fishing Report.

I usually post the sprawling, raw-file online version of the MFR, which appears condensed on the Sun-Times outdoors page, generally by Tuesday evening.

The lakes section of the MFR is posted later Tuesday or Wednesday morning.

If you have suggestions, please let me know at straycasts@sbcglobal.net or @BowmanOutside.

AREA WATER LEVELS

Go to http://water.weather.gov//ahps2/index.php?wfo=lot to check area water levels and projections.

To get to more specific gauges, even on creeks, in Illinois, go to http://waterdata.usgs.gov/il/nwis/current/?type=flow

CHICAGO RIVER

Jeff Nolan of Bridgeport Bass sent this:

Chicago river fishing report ; Main stem Smallies are stacked up ! Most luck we had was at Marina towers w/creatures on jigs . South branch was slow .

DES PLAINES RIVER

No report this week.

DuPAGE RIVER

No report this week.

FOX RIVER

Ken Gortowski sent this, for which I am grateful. And I tried to make a break to distinguish a note from Bob Long Jr.:

Suffered a setback on Friday that had my back aching even more. Wouldn’t have mattered. I was still under the wife’s ultimatum to either fish with others or don’t go fishing. She was so serious. So unlike her.

Luckily Dick Velders was willing to hold my hand down the river on Sunday. Then Bob Long, Jr. wanted to get out and Ed Schmitt was out anyway and stopped by. Ed disappeared across the river, but reported later it was a tough bite on the other side. The wife was happy there were others, she said she could relax and not worry.

Who is this woman?

The three of us wandered down the river. Good company, good conversation and less then stellar fish catching. Bob and I tied into 3 or 4 apiece and Dick practiced casting. We even cut it short, unlike me for sure, but I was grateful. My back was done for the day.

Afterward Bob and I talked a bit about what had happened. No wildlife around was the prevailing thought. No minnows popping on the water like they were last week. It was like everything, including the fish, decided to take the day off.

Since Bob had driven all the way from the South Side of Chicago, he was going to make a day of it out on the Fox and was heading up to Geneva. Got a note from him Monday morning. Always worth reading Bob’s notes:

I think this is from Bob:

It was nice to meet Dick and share some river with you guys wandering around downstream. Thank you for invite, I did appreciate it much Sir Ken of G.

I drove up to Geneva. Left the floating sticks with hooks in the car, taking only the plastics box, and (maggots) river looked marvelous – as always. A picturesque semi-urban setting.

Lot’s of people out using the river walk and park: bikes, walkers, rollerbladers, runners. Four fishermen fishing from the high wall near the dam spillway. No one on the river itself. Just me.

Got fish. Probably 6 to 8 or so. Walked almost down to toilet building. Water got slow, featureless and I lost confidence in it. But, largest bass came from this section.

All fish came with slower retrieve with rod tip high – although this wasn’t an easy transition for me. I am always learning new things, thanks for the tip and thoughts on these fish in dark waters.

Still, simply put, there just aren’t numbers of fish in the river. I am sure, as you stated, the floods of spring have affected fish numbers – for all species, period. I guess it may take some years to work back up on the numbers.

Saw five to six white bass caught up by the dam by a guy fishing with minnows.

Saw minnows in the shallows here. Lot’s of them, but very small in size for so late in the season. I could not tell species.

I will revisit Saw Wee Kee before season ends. I will also try the north side of the river before it gets too cool for me (along those islands). I think I’d like to try a mepps and or safety pin spinner with jig and twister if the weeds and leaves aren’t too thick (I know this is coming soon).

I fear I may never revisit fly rod for smallies in these rivers again. Fly rods are fun, but unless you are in a boat, floating, covering miles of river, it is really a limiting way to fish (unless of course, you are using plastics and maggots). Flies are the fur and feather versions of floating sticks with hooks (they have size, shape and color, but not real action, sound or vibration or scent).

It was nice to sit in the car at Geneva, sleep in the sun and cool air, and watch all of the creamy thighs running, walking, jogging and biking by. (“old but far from dead, am I.” ~ Yoda and me.)

One thing on the Fox at Geneva, by the afternoon when I got there, temps had risen to 70 plus, the winds had shifted slightly from north to northwest, slightly west. Life had started to move. Birds were flying, heron (white and blue) were active on the river (flying and stalking), ducks were active all up and down, (not flying from spot to spot, but in the water in groups – mixed male and female – moving back and forth, feeding a bit). Geese were not present or active.

On the ground squirrels were active, not playful, but moving about, as were chipmunks. The sun, the wind, the air of afternoon had stirred everything. People were out in droves (our instincts know when we are on the cusp of the last such gorgeous days).

As I said, when life doesn’t move, neither will the fish. When it does, so will the fish.

3:08 AM, back to bed I go.

Bob

From Gortowski again:

Last word, the floating sticks with hooks Bob mentions was my reference to his use of Rapalas earlier in the day. I questioned why any fish would hit one. They see sticks floating on the water all the time. You have to give them something that looks even slightly alive, then they’ll eat it.

SS Minnows in South Elgin–(847) 289-0135–offers the opportunities of a local bait shop.

Check Fox updates near the Stratton Dam at http://foxwaterway.com/ or (847) 587-8540. For the area above the Montgomery dam, go to http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/closures/Pages/default.aspx

To join the Fox River Angler Diary Project, go to http://data.foxriverfishing.com I think it is one of the neater projects around.

Sam Bennett has a getting-started guide for the Fox at http://www.foxriverfishing.com/tips/fox-river-getting-started-guide/

ILLINOIS RIVER

No update this week.

INDIANA STREAMS

Mik-Lurch staff reported kings, some steelhead and a few coho in the streams.

Access points for Trail Creek can be found on the Trail Creek Access Map.

KANKAKEE RIVER

River is very wadeable; low, but up from last month’s levels.

Capt. Bob Santangelo of Kankakee River Valley Guide Service sent this:

I was out scouting for my clients at 5:45 AM this morning (dam cold to) on the Kankakee River checking to see if the fall bite started yet? Gee I think it started hahahahaha! Crazy I bet there was a dozen times this season I ending up with the final number of 13 fish.

All I can say its was a kick butt day! This photo the double note a large mouth and pig small mouth both competing for the same bait yep hooked both at the same time all on video by the way!

Talk about putting the hurt on boat anglers holy cow all witnessed by two boat anglers that were 60 yards away watching me set on the next four consecutive casts some real pigs! I was nice enough to tell them both what to use and they tied on and caught fish in front of me nice love when I can help!

MENOMINEE RIVER, WISCONSIN

Mike Mladenik has reports and info at his Mike Mladenik Guide Service site.

ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN

The Wisconsin DNR Root River Report is again being updates weekly, generally by 4 p.m. Tuesdays. Reads like kings, browns and a few steelhead are in.

SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN RIVERS

Tyler Harmon messaged:

Salmon fishing has been near none existent on the Saint Joseph River. Hoping cooler temperatures next week bring in a few fish, Kings I have seen on other rivers are dark and spawning already the end is near. Some walleyes, and smallies being caught on the river. Also anglers wanting salmon, as I said in last weeks report head to northern rivers from the Kalamazoo river on up the coast.

ST. JOSEPH RIVER, INDIANA

Click here for reports from the Indiana DNR.

WISCONSIN DELLS

Sturgeon season is open. More details at http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/sturgeon/sturgeoninlandfishery.html Check other reports and info at River’s Edge.